Choices: Chapter 10

old hand writing for journal
Chapter X
1836
The Republic of Texas

I woke up that first morning contemplating my next move in this new place. I didn’t know anything about the area. Was there a trading post, other settlers?  If there were others, they would most likely be along the river, probably further southwest. It was an uncertain time in the territory. The both of us traveling a distance on one horse was risky but we had no choice. We needed tools, basic supplies, a mule and a wagon. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 10

Choices: Chapter 9

old hand writing for journal

Chapter IX
A New Leaf
1836

I left Tennessee toward the middle of February, halfway thinking about following my old friend Crockett to Texas to see what was happening there. The Colonel had lost his appetite for Washington politics, according to a man who came into the shop one day saying he had read about it in a copy of the Alabama Watchman.  I suspect Davy simply tired of having his honor trampled by the likes of Andrew Jackson, and opted for more worthy pursuits. For whatever reason, most likely adventure, he went to Texas. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 9

Choices: Chapter 8

old hand writing for journal

Chapter VIII
Loose Ends
August, 1822

Upon my return, I noticed something peculiar in CB’s behavior.  He seemed preoccupied, on edge, not at all himself.  At first I thought it had to do with me personally, something I had done, or said. It nagged at me that he could be holding me accountable for the death of Louis, finding himself somehow caught in the middle, between the Friedel loss and my part in it. He had become close with the Friedel family, visiting their farm often, tending a full blown romance with Isabel.  Or, I surmised, perhaps he was simply ill at ease with me, not knowing how to address my loss.  He had expected me to return with my wife and baby, my family. It could be that my bereavement was more than he was sophisticated enough to process, not as acclimated in the white man’s ways as I had thought. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 8

Choices: Chapter 7

old hand writing for journal
Chapter VII
Best Laid Plans
July, 1822

I noticed, topping the bluff and looking down at the river, that there was no houseboat moored in front of the cabin. All that was there was the pier, level with the ground.  The cabin’s back yard backed up to the river, and a canoe lay on the bank. We rode onto the property using the main road separating the Wilkes homestead from Danny and Mana’s.  Work on the new home had been almost completed when I left, with only light finishing remaining for Danny to do.  A fence now enclosed the place. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 7

Choices: Chapter 6

old hand writing for journal

Chapter VI
Last Trip East
July 1822

Louis and I headed east early in the morning, as soon as the sun came up.  There was not a cloud in the sky, and despite the July heat, there was a good breeze blowing. Louis, at seventeen, was the older of the Friedel brothers, although with his slight build and bashful grin, he looked maybe fourteen.  He had been east of the Mississippi River no more than a few miles since his family had settled there, so he was raring to go.  A wiry fellow, and agile, his movements quick and purposeful, I thought him a well-suited assistant, should we run into trouble: road, wagon, or worse.  He could shoot, too. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 6

Choices: Chapter 5


old hand writing for journal

Chapter V
On The Mississippi
January, 1822

“CB, I’m gonna build me an ark. You ever seen an ark?”

“No, Bill.”

I picked up a stick, and smoothed away a writing surface on the ground, sketching out the plans for the boat I had in my mind to build. It would be a hundred feet long and twenty-five feet wide, vee-shaped at the ends, but with a cabin in the center like those along the river on the common flatboats.  There was plenty of redwood with which I planned to build the boat, but for the house portion, I would use poplar. Continue reading Choices: Chapter 5